LONDON: Among the eight striking works currently on display at the London-based Victoria and Albert Museum’s Jameel Prize 5 exhibition, a piece entitled “Shawl,” by Palestinian sisters Nisreen and Nermeen Abudail of the Naqsh Collective, makes a powerful impression.
“For this artwork, my sister and I thought about the significance of precious embroidered pieces made by Palestinian women and put them in the context of what is happening today in Palestine,” explained Nisreen.
“For a Palestinian woman, a shawl has a lot of meaning. It’s a piece she carries with her always. She might use it to collect olives, to protect her from the wind or cover her baby. It witnesses her life story — her joy, laughter and sadness.
“These women should be doing embroidery and celebrating life. But instead, most of them are struggling to live, raise their children, find water, food and shelter. Embroidery is… a luxury. Not like before, when it was done in the spirit of joy and community. Nowadays, in these harsh times, the priority is just to survive,” she said.
A detailed shot of a “Shawl” showing the Palestinian embroidery pattern Eyes of Cows “عيون البقر" from Hebron. الخليل (خليل الرحمن) : يمتد تاريخ الخليل إلى 5500 عام وقد سماها الملك الكنعاني أربع بإسم (قرية أربع) . وكانت موطن إبراهيم الخليل ولذلك سُميت بإسمه. وبها الحرم الإبراهيمي الذي يُجلّه المسلمون واليهود. وللخليل تاريخ طويل في مقاومة الأعداء والغزاة. احتلتها إسرائيل عام 1967 وأسكنت فيها مستوطنين يهود. ورغم أن عددهم لا يتجاوز 1% من مجموع السكان، إلا أنهم يسيطرون على المدينة القديمة تحت حماية جيش الاحتلال الإسرائيلي. أطلس فلسطين - سلمان أبو ستة ( صفحة 79 ). #naqshcollective #nisreenabudail #nermeenabudail #palestinian #embroidery #pattern #art #design #stitich #unit #palestine #jordan
The sisters, based in Jordan and Dubai, fuse their backgrounds in architecture and graphic design to create their highly original, sculptural work.
“We think these creative women would be happy to see that their art is ‘living’ and not simply being looked at as a museum exhibit. This craft is in our DNA: It reminds us of our grandmothers, our history and culture,” she said.
Created in their studio in Amman, “Shawl” transmits both delicacy and strength. It is made of solid walnut wood and brass to emphasize the durability of the craft. A variety of machines and manual tools were used to achieve the final result.
“We are determined that this craft is going to remain with us and live on through the generations,” Nisreen said.
The Jameel Prize, founded in partnership with Art Jameel, is for contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic tradition.
This year, the $33,000 prize was jointly awarded to artist Mehdi Moutashar and architect Marina Tabassum.
The exhibition is set to run until Nov. 25.